Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why you SHOULD care about Panhandlers

Why you SHOULD care about Panhandlers

I get it, peoples point of view I mean and I hear it alot. Many people I've spoken too about panhandling over the last couple of years usually fall into one of two categories, the supporters and the ones that oppose panhandling.

While many people say things like "Just ignore them" or "they aren't hurting you, leave them alone", it's usually those people that have not really thought much about the issue at hand and how it actually effects them just as much as the next person.

Today, I want to share some insights with you that may open your mind and make you think about the issue a bit further.

You just Hate the Homeless

Okay look, again homelessness and panhandling rarely coincide with each other. Just because you are homeless doesn't mean you panhandle or vise versa so please get your facts straight before you start ranting and raving on social media.

The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care is a report from the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness that has taken a snapshot in time if you will about our homeless population. That report shows that less than 2% of the regions homeless population panhandles, yes less than 2%. 

SO when you speak about someone being a homeless hater I want you to realize that you're speaking out of context. MOST people lump homelessness and panhandlers into a group, poverty.

TRUST me when I say that a lot of known panhandlers right here in our area make some serious bank, check out this recent article I wrote about how much you can make being a panhandler or check out my own personal findings when I panhandled for just a few hours and made over $100!

Just Ignore Them 

Sure, you could just ignore them, but they are human beings like you and I.

If you're ignoring a panhandler, how are you helping the situation?

Ignoring panhandlers simply tells the community that you don't really care who's on the corner and you don't care about the community. Well you should and here's why.

If you are a tax paying citizen, you are paying the police that nudge them along, you are paying the cleaning crews to pick up the trash, needles and beer bottles they often leave behind at a given median, you're also paying into the courts, jails, law enforcement officers that write tickets, put them in jail, the people doing all the paperwork, etc. And for the ones that stay in jail, your tax bucks are paying for that too.

A LOT of people simply do not know any better by giving cash, in their mind they are believing they are helping that person. In reality however, when you give cash, you are just enabling them to stand more, which in turn shows others they can too and the cycle begins.

Leave them Alone

You could leave them alone, but how is that helping them get off the streets and how is that cleaning up our beautiful city?

Many panhandlers have mental issues, yes. We also have a slue of free resources right here in the Roanoke Valley that can help the ones that WANT to get off the streets and back into society. The ones that WANT to panhandle, want an easy tax free way out of life on your dime.

We also have many panhandlers that take the free money and live off of it. Drugs, booze, paying for cars, rents, food and living a lifestyle that sometimes is equal too or better than you or I.

As long as people give money to panhandlers, they will continue to be out asking for cash. 
Roanoke was NEVER an hotbed with panhandlers until recently. DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS TO BECOME THE NORMAL FOR OUR SMALL CITY? 

They're not Hurting Anyone

Well actually they are to a point. When you look for a place to live, do you want to be near a known panhandler hot spot?

Trying to get to Nashville, got the last 3 months, same spot.
Would the value of your home go up if there are people standing on the street corners there all the time?

If you own a home and support panhandlers, then I would encourage you to allow them to stand in your property to ask for money.

I'm pretty sure you would feel uncomfortable about them standing in your yard asking for cash.

Well, what about those that walk in parking lots asking for cash? Are you going to give the same people cash each time you shop at Kroger, Walmart or the like?

And what about safety? Did you know that many of them carry knifes or weapons?

We recently had a well known panhandler (Cheryl, who admitted on social media she carries a large knife) in our area attack a citizen just because he was there filming her. Sure, she might have been mad at that, but it's our right to record on a public street corner anything that is in public view. It's the same with her being out there on that corner, you didn't see someone attack her over standing there.

My point is that Roanoke was once a beautiful and lovely city to be proud of, today many businesses have complained about panhandlers and how if effects business (lack thereof), people complain about them coming up to you in parking lots, being aggressive on street corners and even how it effects tourism.

Well, the Bible Says...

Listen, I'm  Christian. The bible says LOT's of things both about how you shouldn't judge people sure, BUT it also says a LOT about how you shouldn't just be silent when you see a thief or liar either. You can find a lot of verses about fraud here.

What you see as judging, I see as simply alerting others in our community about the true nature of the person panhandling. This is NOT a religious issue, but rather an issue of the community and it's morality.

And for those that state they don't know their situation when it come to panhandling, well don't be so sure. I work with a lot of organizations here that can pretty much tell us everything about the person, from them being on disability, where they live, how long they've been panhandling, if they are a drug or alcoholic abuser and so forth.

While its one thing to call them out, it's another to point blank state they are a bad horrible person, something we don't do or encourage within the group. There are situations on social media when people do go overboard with a panhandler sure, but those people are not part of this group.

If you need clarification, read the description on our Facebook Group.

You're Just a Hater...

Well, simply put yes and no at the same time. It's not the people that we hate, its what they do and the scams and lies behind them.

Yes, you should hate that we have a lot of aggressive panhandlers and yes you should hate that most of them live nicely off tax free money.

After all, I work, most of you work and you don't see us standing on corners doing the same. It makes Roanoke look bad, it's our community, shouldn't you care about your neighbors?

If you state you're homeless but you're really not, which is most likely the case, then you are scamming (lying to) people emotionally for cash. Tips on how to tell a real panhandler from someone who does it full time.

So, yes we hate panhandlers on that extent.

And no, we don't hate them either. They are people just like you and I. We're NOT haters of homeless people, we hate those that abuse panhandling to make a career out of it.

Finally, if you still feel like you don't really care about panhandlers and giving them cash, donate to our Blessing Bag Program instead. If you're handing out cash to everyone on the street corners, give it to our program instead. At least you will know that it wont go to booze or drugs.

Blessing Bags are a local program that helps give items to homeless or needy within our area each month.

IF we were haters then why do we run a program to HELP the homeless and needy in our area?


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